Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Foreign travel bookings rise for end-July, August as restrictions ease

International travel and tourism has started recovering, with some agents reporting a 40 percent rise in booking of foreign flights and hotels as the country recovers from the second wave of COVID-19 and more countries allow Indians in.

"In the past week, we have received a large number of inquiries and bookings for flights and tours for Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Bangkok for the last two weeks of July and first two weeks of August," an executive from Delhi-based Swan Travels told Moneycontrol.

While most bookings for flights have come from students heading for international colleges, which typically start in August or September, inquiries from casual travelers looking for a break have also risen in the last week, people in the travel trade said.

They expect a shortfall of international flights from India to Southeast Asian countries in August because of rising demand for these destinations.

"Most of Europe, US, Australia still remains shut for travel for India till now, and their embassies are now slowly opening up, but getting approvals for visa is still quite slow. Travelers are looking at countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives and Thailand," an official from Swan Tours said.

An executive at Welgrow Travels said the agency also received requests for budget accommodations for a few weeks to a month from some customers who are looking to travel while "working from home" from a new destination.

According to an executive at the online travel agency and travel search engine Yatra.com, international flight and hotel bookings have risen by around 40 percent in the last week, while the online traffic of the website is now rising for countries that have started allowing Indian tourists or have eased quarantine rules.

Domestic Indian airlines are also looking to increase the number of flights to these countries. Last week SpiceJet announced it would launch international flights to Male from Kochi and Mumbai.

The Travel Agents Association of India, a domestic industry body with around 3,000 members, also expects international tourism to constantly rise for the next few weeks as more people get vaccinated and more countries ease restrictions.

12/07/21 Yaruqhullah Khan/Moneycontrol

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